Today we welcome two new staff, Caroline Campbell and Stacey Fox.
Caroline is a Senior Conveyancing Paralegal, located in our Caboolture office. Caroline comes to us with over 30 years experience in Conveyancing.
For all your CONVEYANCING needs, please contact Caroline on 5499 3622 or email email@example.com. Read more about Caroline’s experience here.
Stacey is our Accounts Manager, based in our Brisbane office. Stacey has over 25 years experience in accounts, with over five of these years in the legal industry.
At Quinn and Scattini Lawyers the personal injuries team fields numerous enquiries from injured persons daily. We offer an obligation free assessment of a potential damages or a TPD (‘total and permanent disability’) claim against the injured person’s superannuation fund.
Injuries are unfortunately a regular occurrence in our busy lifestyle. Motor vehicle incidents and workplace injuries are commonplace. Not infrequently the resulting outcome arising from an injury is pain and suffering, inconvenience, limitation and permanent life long bodily damage. We also take enquiries from a significant number of people whom are unhappy with a past provision of medical advice, or action or inaction, taken either surgically or otherwise by a qualified medical practitioner.
The Initial Assessment of a Personal Injury Enquiry (as Relevant to Assessment of a Potential Damages Claim)
All incoming enquiries are considered in the context of the actual factual circumstances giving rise to the event that resulted in the injury. Claims for damages for personal injuries are assessed according to the applicable law as relevant to the unique set of facts or circumstances giving rise to the injury. Although such an ‘assessment’ seems straightforward at first glance, you need to be mindful that there are infinite ways for one to sustain injuries! And further, the layered legislative backdrop over precedent determined by the Court, or common law, results in at times a very complex area of law.
A Cause of Action in Negligence
In assessing whether an injured person has a potential viable claim we need to determine legal fault, or liability of the alleged at fault party. A cause of action is the action or claim in negligence that arises from the factual basis and circumstances of the person’s injuries for which another party is legally liable. The cause of action may be quickly determined, such in the case of injuries arising from the collision of two motor vehicles at an intersection on a public road, and the viable cause of action being pursuant to the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld). In contrast, an incident involving a person commanding a single motor vehicle that has lost control, due to circumstances outside of the person’s control, in a collision with a fixed structure on private property will be subject to the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld).
Establishing negligence or a legally at fault party is essential in order to have a successful damages claim. Whether a party is negligent is determined with reference to established legal principles and again the factual circumstances given rise to the injury cannot be overstated. It is important to bear in mind that the ‘factual circumstances’ relied upon by the person making the claim, or the claimant, must be tested in Court. The claimant bears the onus of proof, that is the onus of proving in Court that on the balance of probabilities that the Defendant or alleged ‘at fault party’ was more probable than not negligent in their position with respect to the injuries suffered by the claimant.
A personal injuries claim can, and is frequently, subject to multiple legislative governance both procedurally and substantively. What that means is the claim is subject to mandatory procedural steps, such as the lodging of a Notice of Claim document and the requirement of genuine participation at a Compulsory Conference where the injured person, the insurer and their respective legal representation attempt to resolve the claim without the necessity of commencing court proceedings.
Almost all claims for damages arising from personal injuries are subject to time limits. If a claim is lodged outside the relevant timeframe a ‘reasonable excuse for delay’ will likely be required. A claim may be statue barred if it is brought outside the 3 year time limit in Queensland pursuant to the Limitations of Actions Act (1974) Qld. An extension of time may be granted by the Court on application and the relevant determination is on a case-by-case basis according to the particular merit of the application. Such applications are time consuming, costly and uncertain. Recently the Queensland government legislated to remove the 3 year time limit applicable to claims of historical institutional child sexual abuse. This very important amendment has come about due to the present conducting of the ‘Royal Commission into Intuitional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’ and recognizes the permanent, lifelong psychological/psychiatric damage sustained by sexual assault survivors and the inequity of applying time limits to make a claim for damages arising from sexual abuse sustained as a child.
Quantum or Damage
In order for a claim for damages for personal injury to be viable, the claimant must have suffered ‘damage’ as a consequence of the ‘at fault party’s’ negligence. I often use the example of a defective balcony to illustrate the necessity of damage to enquiring persons and clients. Consider the scenario of attending premises and subsequently falling from a height due to a sub-standard constructed balcony handrail. If you were lucky and did not sustain injuries, this matter would not be a viable due to the very limited or no damage sustained, irrespective of the likely determination by the Court that the relevant at fault party was negligent in construction of the balcony handrail.
In the case of sustaining personal injuries as arising from a viable cause of action, the claimant’s suffering and bodily damage is assessed by a suitably qualified medical practitioner’s opinion as applicable with reference to the American Medical Association Guides (“the AMA Guides”). The AMA guides are the accepted standard for assessment of a person’s impairment and disability. Rarely in my considerable experience do medical practitioners completely agree on the level of damage sustained or even the prognosis of the injured person. Ultimately it is a matter for the Court to determine which medical practitioner, or expert report, is accepted over a contrasting opinion.
Overall Initial Assessment
Upon being provided the version of events according to the person making the enquiry concerning a potential damages claim arising from personal injury, a member of our personal injuries team will make an initial determination in regards to both being able to establish legal fault or negligence, and quantum, or damage. A further consideration in the initial assessment of a claim is the veracity enquirer’s version of events. If the injured person cannot confidently recount what happened with reference to the sustaining of their injuries, the may not be able to discharge the onus of proof and therefore be unsuccessful in their claim. It is not uncommon to hear injured person’s report that cannot recall exactly what happened in the relevant. Bringing a successful claim in this instance is likely to be problematic.
Other Considerations Relevant to Commencing a Claim for Damages Arising from Personal Injuries
In addition to the above pre-requisites for bringing a claim for damages arising from personal injury there are other matters to consider before proceeding with a claim.
The Stress of Litigation
Our civil justice system is adversarial and undoubtedly stressful. The claimant bears the onus of proof to demonstrate the alleged at-fault party’s legal liability in negligence.
Many clients report the necessity of ongoing reporting of the circumstances giving rise to the injuries, as well full reporting on the nature and consequences of the resulting injuries, as repetitive and stressful, especially in circumstances where there is psychological or psychiatric injuries involved. Client’s report frustration towards medical assessments undertaken in accordance with the AMA Guides in that they believe such assessment reporting does not fully cover the totality of the injuries sustained. The impact and resultant outcome of the personal injuries suffered are often accompanied with emotional and mental stress, pain, disability, inconvenience, loss of employability, relationship and financial stress. I have not encountered a client that would not simply exchange the resultant lump sum compensation for the injuries not occurring in the first place, if such a thing were even possible.
Litigation Timeframes and Complexity
As aforementioned, claims for damages for personal injury are subject to various procedural steps which contain in some cases strict time limits. If you are considering a personal injury claim, make the enquiry as soon as possible. If you claim is viable it is important to obtain the necessary evidence required to prove your claim as soon as possible. Witnesses memories will fade with time, and obtaining the best evidence is essential.
Invasion of Privacy
It is also important to note that the laws governing personal injuries claim require full disclosure by the claimant in regards to not only the consequent injury according to the subject claim, but often also pre-existing injuries, illness and conditions. Many clients report there objection in relation to this perceived invasion of privacy.
So Why Litigate/Make a Claim for Damages?
With all the above considerations, why would you consider making a claim for damages for personal injury? At the outset it is important to note that adversarial civil process is the only system presently available to claimant’s seeking damages for personal injury in Queensland. If you can establish a solid claim your matter will more than likely be able to be settled out of court.
I note that there is a general perception in our society that people that make personal injury claims are malingerers, and or are looking to make quick money. I note that personal injury lawyers acting on behalf of claimant’s are generally considered to be unscrupulous ambulance chasers. I object to both perceptions wholeheartedly. If a person was injured in an insured event as a consequence of another negligent act, why would you refrain from making a claim for damages to your own detriment. I think it is relevant to note that insurance is big business and reporting of insurer’s record profits and significant profitability in the insurance market is notable. In relation to the general poor moral perception of personal injury lawyers, I say that lawyers in this instance provide a valuable public service and mostly likely on a obligation free basis.
At Quinn and Scattini the personal injuries team welcome all potential damages claim enquiries. If we determine the matter as viable our services can be offered on a no-win no-fee service. I personally oversee the operations of the personal injuries team. I come from the unique position of not only being a Queensland Law Society personal injuries accredited specialist, but also someone who understands impairment and disability after suffering a fall from height that resulted in the complete paraplegia from the waist down. I am more than happy to take your enquiry.
Client feedback is the most valuable feedback. Quinn & Scattini prides itself on customer service so when a client sends through a ‘thank you’ it is much appreciated.
Kim Jones, a Senior Conveyancing Paralegal here at Quinn & Scattini has received valued client feedback this week.
“Very happy to have Kim handling our investment property sale. Kim was always efficient, friendly and a pleasure to deal with keeping us informed throughout the whole process.
We will certainly recommend Kim and Quinn and Scattini.”
If you need an EXPERT LEGAL ADVICE on a CONVEYANCING MATTER please call Quinn & Scattini Lawyers on 1800 999 529 or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are excited to be supporting the annual Bayside Business Expo, held this Saturday, starting at 8.30am. The expo aims to help small businesses and showcase local businesses.
Sit in on one of the many workshops available, meet other local business owners and make connections.
Don’t forget to grab a free promotional bag before you leave!
Find out more about the event here – http://baysidewomeninbusiness.org/expo/
With the recent surge in apartment building and the increasing the demand for mature-age lifestyle communities, more and more land in Queensland is being held and managed by community management schemes.
This article provides a brief overview of the parts that make up a basic community management scheme and how they work together for the benefit of Lot Owners.
Why have a community management scheme
Some parts of a development are intended to be for the benefit of all Lot Owners. These can either be desirable features such as shared swimming pools or recreational areas or are parts that are critical in order for Lot Owners to fully enjoy the lot they own such as basement level car parks, lifts and the very structure of the building containing the lot.
It would be unrealistic (and unreliable) to expect any one Lot Owner to be able to save up, pay for and maintain these share facilities. A community management scheme is an effective way for all the lot owners in a scheme to pool their resources and manage the maintenance and operation of the shared land, buildings, plant and equipment for everyone’s mutual benefit.
What is a community management scheme
Very generally speaking, a community management scheme is a system where a “Body Corporate” holds and manages “Common Property” for the use and benefits of the Lot Owners. In return for this, each Lot Owners agree to:
- pay “Levies” or “Special Levies” to the Body Corporate to cover the Body Corporate’s costs; and
- obey the “By-Laws” of the scheme to ensure that all Lot Owners can enjoy the Common Property and not have their use, enjoyment and rights over their lot negatively affected.
Body Corporate – A Body Corporate is the organisation that runs, maintains and (if necessary) upgrades or repairs the Common Property. A Body Corporate also calculates, approves of and collects the Levies and Special Levies, sets the By-Laws for the scheme. A committee of Lot Owners make day-to-day decisions for the Body Corporate and general meetings (where all Lot Owners are entitled to vote) are held to make certain important decisions.
Common Property – The Common Property of a community management scheme is the shared land, buildings, plant and equipment the Body Corporate owns and manages for the use of some or all of the Lot Owners.
Exclusive Use Areas – A community management scheme could be set up so that only certain Lot Owners can use specific parts of the Common Property. This is desirable when a Lot Owner needs to have the exclusive use of part of the Common Property without interference from other Lot Owners. The primary example would be car parking spaces that are reserved for the exclusive use of a specific Lot Owner. A Lot Owners is usually responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the Exclusive Use area that it has been given.
Levies – A Levy is the amount that each Lot Owner contributes towards the operation of the Body Corporate and the running and maintenance of Common Property. This includes payments to an ‘Administration Fund’ to cover operational costs, payment into a ‘Sinking Fund’ to cover the cost of maintenance, repairs and upkeep and payment towards the insurance premiums for the Common Property and the Body Corporate.
Special Levies – A Special Levies is an amount that each Lot Owner contributed to cover the extraordinary or unforeseen expenses that a Body Corporate may incur.
These costs could arise as a result of disaster, unanticipated need of repair, having to defend or mount legal claims or substantial upgrades to the Common Property.
There are strict controls about how the Body Corporate can decide to charge a Special Levy and special levies cannot be raised without a general meeting of the Lot Owners.
Because Special Levies can often result in Lot Owners paying significantly higher amounts of money to the Body Corporate, Lot Owners that have not been keeping themselves up-to-date with the outcome of the general meetings or new buyers that have not searched the body corporate can be caught unprepared when special levy notices are issued.
By-Laws – By-Laws are the rules of the community management scheme that are intended to ensure that the scheme runs smoothly without any Lot Owners doing something that could have a negative affect on the Common Property or the use, enjoyment or value of other lots in the scheme. Many community schemes have By-Laws that attempt go further than this (with dubious levels of effectiveness).
Community management schemes can be set up in almost an endless variety of ways depending on the shared and competing interests of developers and the individual Lot Owners.
Understanding the basic concepts discussed in this article is critical to being able to navigate a system that, fundamentally, is designed to ensure that the rights, use and enjoyment of all Lot Owners are respected.
We are again calling out to businesses who have recently been victims of the new Sensis / Yellow Pages Online and Community Books. If you have had issues with Sensis in regards to your advertising and believe that as a result of these issues you have suffered loss of income please contact us.
Did you place an order in the printed Yellow Pages, and have the order accepted, only to then have the ad cancelled by Sensis due to errors in their system during the platform change?
Are your Yellow Pages Online advertisements not working? Are you unable to make content changes? Or do you have other continual issues with Sensis due to the platform change?
Quinn & Scattini Lawyers represent a client who has been affected by many issues like these with Sensis. If your business has been similarly affected, you may benefit from joining a potential class action against Sensis (Yellow Pages).
Contact Russell Leneham at Quinn & Scattini on 1800 999 529 or email YPclassaction@qslaw.com.au if you are interested in joining in (or learning more about) this potential legal action.
42 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer each day.
This morning, Quinn & Scattini grouped together and hosted a Breast Ever Brunch at all seven offices.
Funds are being raised in order to allow the Mater Chicks In Pink to supply over 15,000 support items to those affected by breast cancer.
It is not too late to donate so dig deep and donate here – https://secure.fundraiseformater.org.au/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?RegistrationID=1008375.